Over the last few weeks the kids and I have been planning a trip for Labor Day weekend. We considered renting a lake house and enjoying a few days in the water, maybe a quick trip to the beach for one last ocean swim before fall is upon us. Branson, Silver Dollar City and Nashville have all topped the list. I absolutely love road trips whether planned out or just a last minute throw some bags in the van and drive to wherever our destination may take us.
Over the years our community has been so good to our family rallying around Elizabeth not only just through the rough times but also when we were helping make dreams come true for a little girl that deserved a glimpse of happiness in a life that has been so hard lived. Elizabeth has cheered with her favorite group of young women, she has met an amazing chef and even spent an evening with Luke Bryan himself. Our little corner of the state has been so good to her without expecting a thing in return. Because of the kindness of others we have adopted the “Pay It Forward” way of life. People are often taken back by our desire to help others after they meet Elizabeth and realize that we appear to be the family that needs to be receiving help rather than giving it. What many don’t know is that we have been richly blessed over the years to have family, friends and a community that embraced Elizabeth with such love and support leaving us with wanting nothing but a way to give back.
For the last few days the kids and I, like much of the country have had all eyes on Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that it has brought our neighboring state of Texas. The stories have brought tears to our eyes and sparked conversations of what if that happened to us and what would we do. Late last night as we were getting ready for bed we heard that a child with special needs had to be rescued. For us, this hit home more than any other rescue. My thoughts have swirled around Elizabeth and the unique challenges it would bring should she need to be rescued. There would be no second floor to retreat to. How would we drag a wheelchair onto a roof or through waist deep water. Elizabeth requires fresh water, electricity for her medical equipment that keeps her alive. Medications that we would not have access to or the ability to tend to her daily needs. It took my breath away just thinking about it. As we all stood in my room this morning listening to the story again of a child like Elizabeth who had been stranded we agreed that a vacation was not what we should be doing this weekend. Instead the kids decided they needed to help. We swirled ideas around and finally decided that gathering water and delivering it to the shelters that are now being opened as far out as Dallas seemed like something we could do.
So here we go!! The kids and I, along with my oldest and his wife will be gathering cases of water and dropping them off at the shelters in Texas. We won’t endanger ourselves or hinder the rescue efforts as far down as Houston but we will drive into Dallas or beyond that is considered safe. We are challenging our family and friends to give one case of water and help us pay it forward for all the amazing support our community has given to Life with Elizabeth. We will come to you, whether in NWA or Fort Smith and pick up your donated water! Feel free to contact us through the blog, social media or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help. Our goal is to have all water collected by Friday evening and head out early Saturday morning.
With deep appreciation … The Forester Family